Dr. Eric Finzi and Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s research study findings featured in The Science of Smiling by Andrew Merle for Huffington Post Healthy Living
When we are happy, our natural response is to smile. But if you flip that around, does the reverse hold true? When we smile, is our natural response then to be happy?
Science says yes.
In fact, even faking or forcing a smile reduces stress and makes you happier….
…Another study looked at the effect of facial expression on depression. The experimenters, Eric Finzi (cosmetic dermatologist) and Norman Rosenthal (professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School) worked with 74 subjects who all had major depression, and either gave them a Botox injection between the eyebrows that prevented frowning, or a placebo saline injection that did not affect the facial muscles.
The findings showed that, six weeks after the injection, 52 percent of the non-frowning Botox group showed a reduction in their depression, compared to only a 15 percent improvement rate for the placebo group. The results indicate that putting on a happy face actually makes you happier.
It seems that the simple act of a physical smile, authentic or not, tricks your brain into thinking you’re actually happy. Smiling also triggers us to think back to joyful memories, further improving mood.
In addition to lifting mood and reducing stress, other research has shown that people who smile are thought to be more friendly and likeable, and smiling actually makes those around you cheerier as well.
All of this shows that the old sayings actually deliver great advice — it’s time to turn that frown upside down, grin and bear it, and say cheese!
For more insight in to the study findings READ Dr. Eric Finzi’s Book, Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships